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The Smurfs Dance Party (Wii) artwork

The Smurfs Dance Party (Wii) review


"The Smurfs Dance Party is a simple, relaxing title featuring silly fun for kids. Anyone over the age of nine might want to consider a title with more substance, but you might want to give the game a go if you’re just looking for a simple and charming family night diversion. I don't recommend paying more than $20, though. "



You're probably wondering what a 30-year-old man is doing with a copy of The Smurfs Dance Party. It was for the good of mankind that I took it upon myself to make sure that such an ill-fitting concept as a Smurfs dancing game was safe for the public. With every graceful swing of my arm and bead of sweat that dropped from my brow, I looked over my shoulder to make sure my neighbors were not peeking in on me. The threat of embarrassment was worth the result: I can now say with confidence that The Smurfs Dance Party will delight younger players, but only for a short while.

It's curious that Ubisoft avoided calling this release Just Dance: Smurfs. Dance Party plays exactly like the aforementioned game, with the only differences being cosmetic ones. In every dance, you grip the Wii Remote in your right hand and mimic a character on the screen (a Smurf in this case) as if it's your reflection. Many of the motions are repetitive and simple to ape. You'll perform a lot of the same waves, flourishes and arm-raises, but in different sequences. More difficult dances include more complicated moves and faster transitions from one move to the next, but there’s nothing ridiculous or overly demanding. You have a choice of two different modes: Dance Mode and Story Mode. 'Dance' allows you to choose a single dance routine, while 'Story' takes you through eight dance routines with unskippable cutscenes between levels.

Proper Wii Remote positioning is key. The trick is to have the Wii Remote in just the right place at the right time. Succeed and you'll receive a rating and points, with more points for better ratings. Here's where Dance Party can get ugly, though, as the Wii Remote can be finicky about where or how you position it. Your actions may mirror the Smurf's precisely, but if the controller isn't pointing at just the right angle or isn’t turned in just the right way, your rating could suffer. You could even score a dud, resulting in no points. If nothing else, there’s a decent challenge in simply trying to locate the “sweet spot” for each move.

Even once you sort all of that out, every dance flows in an awkward fashion. You'll go from doing the robot, to bending over and sticking your arms out to one side, to jogging in place. This may sound like a jarring experience, but it adds an element of surprise and challenge. If you don't immediately succeed in executing a move properly, then don't sweat it. You'll have many opportunities to perfect it because each dance consists of a certain set of repeated moves.

As you dance, figures scroll along the bottom of the screen in an attempt to warn you of upcoming moves. Most of them are simple to understand, but there are some that may require you to hire a cryptographer. Some figures appear to have more than two arms, as if they expect Mortal Kombat's Goro to play. Others tell you to move your arm in a complicated sweep that you could better learn by watching the Smurfs instead of the figures. Worst of all is that the figures don't tell you how fast you're supposed to move or detail any other such idiosyncrasies.

This would muck up Dance Party were it not for the game’s generally forgiving nature. Success isn't about nailing the moves precisely. Even if you fail most of the moves, you won't be booed of the stage and it's impossible to achieve a 'game over'. The real challenge is in obtaining a high score and then breaking it. This isn't difficult to accomplish, as you can typically master a dance with one or two playthroughs.

Clearly, The Smurfs Dance Party wasn't intended to be a soul-shattering tough game. It was intended to be a laid back family title, one where kiddos and parents could relax, have fun together, act silly and not stress over the challenge factor. To that end, one person can play while the others laugh at their horrible dancing or two can play simultaneously in a 'co-op' mode. There's also Freeze and Shake, a setting in Dance Mode that intermittently adds bonus challenges. Move while you’re supposed to be frozen and you'll lose points, or shake the Wii Remote fast enough when instructed and you'll earn a fat bonus.

While the simple design has a certain appeal, families could have had a bigger blast with Dance Party if there was more depth. Developer Land Ho! tried to make up for this by including twenty-four different dances to master, many of which have been “Smurfified”, with titles like Mr. Smurftastic, Who Let the Smurfs Out? and Smurf This Way. Even with such a lineup of songs, though, it won't take long for the family to tire of this engagement and move on.

Different modes could also have added some lasting value. Land Ho! was onto something when it added Freeze and Shake. Adding even more modes that offered new silly actions could have livened up a family night that much more. The inclusion of a Story Mode sounds interesting for a dance game, yet the mode ends quickly and doesn't offer anything different from Dance Mode besides clips from the movie. Honestly, unless your kids are madly in love with Smurfs, they'll probably stop playing this one after only a short while.

The Smurfs Dance Party is a simple, relaxing title featuring silly fun for kids. Anyone over the age of nine might want to consider a title with more substance, but you might want to give the game a go if you’re just looking for a simple and charming family night diversion. I don't recommend paying more than $20, though.

Rating: 6/10

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Freelance review by Joseph Shaffer (August 16, 2011)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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If you enjoyed this The Smurfs Dance Party review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

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EmP posted August 16, 2011:

I swear: if you derail my 5/5 streak with a bloody smurf's review, I'll hunt you down and bludgoen you.

Sad fact is, this is a good enough review to do it.
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fleinn posted August 16, 2011:

:D laughed pretty hard a few times. Did that.

"a title with more substance". This one needs a bit more sarcasm. ..I mean, seriously, needs to be obvious. Otherwise it looks as if you're deliberately addressing teens. Instead of grown-ups who giggle a lot and change diapers with a smile for the time being, etc. :p

And the end of the first paragraph.. "The threat of embarrassment.." - maybe "But the threat of embarrassment.."? You know, ending with a solid statement. Could... even smuggle a semicolon in there..?
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JoeTheDestroyer posted August 16, 2011:

Will the savage blue creatures sabotage Mr. Hartley's five victory streak? It's intrigue! It's excitement! Tune in for the next Review of the Week!

And thanks, Gary! I look forward to that bludgeoning.

Thanks, fleinn. I'm glad you enjoyed the read.

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